Gov. Chris Sununu said Tuesday that he is not planning any additional coronavirus restrictions even as cases and hospitalizations in New Hampshire remain high.
Neighboring Massachusetts announced new statewide restrictions Tuesday that will go into effect Saturday and last for at least two weeks. Business capacity limits and gathering limits are being reduced, and elective surgeries pushed back or canceled.
But Sununu said New Hampshire is not in the same situation as the Bay State.
"We're in a slightly different situation than Massachusetts, that's for sure," he said.
More than 37,000 people have tested positive for the virus in New Hampshire, with 624 cases announced Tuesday that included results from several days previous days. The number of deaths stood at 656.
The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in New Hampshire has risen over the past has risen over the past two weeks from 689 new cases per day on Dec. 7 to 788 new cases per day on Dec. 21.
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"We seem to have stabilized over the last couple weeks," Sununu said. "Hospitalizations are likely going to keep trickling up. Hopefully we're at a peak and maybe we'll start seeing a downswing."
Sununu urged people to continue wearing masks, social distancing and practicing good hygiene throughout the holiday season.
"We're at the beginning of the end," Sununu said. "There really is a light at the end of the tunnel."
New Hampshire received about 24,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine Tuesday, on top of the 9,000 doses of Pfizer's vaccine that had already been received. Over 4,000 doses have already been distributed to hospitals, and 3,819 front line workers have been vaccinated.
“It’s going to take us several months to get all who want to be vaccinated vaccinated, and this means we must remain vigilant in the steps we take as individuals to prevent COVID-19,” said Beth Daly, chief of the state Bureau of Infectious Disease Control.
Daly said the Department of Health and Human Services is working with first responder agencies to register workers for the vaccine, and will communicate more broadly when it is ready to begin vaccinating ambulatory care providers. For future phases, there also will be detailed communication about eligibility and an online registration process, she said.
While the numbers are in flux, the state expects to get about 9,000 doses of each vaccine each week. Officials hope provide the initial shots to the 100,000 people in the first priority group — health care workers, nursing home residents and staff and first responders — by the end of January, she said.
Sununu also took a shot at Washington, D.C. politicians Tuesday while talking about the upcoming Christmas holiday. He has criticized Congress in recent days for being slow to pass a COVID relief package and for getting vaccinated ahead of residents of long-term care facilities and other high-risk populations.
"We're deeming Santa Claus an essential worker," he said "He's not coming from Washington -- that's the good news. That means he's likely to deliver on everything he promises.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.